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not beta'd

Word Prompt: Abstract

Plot Generator—Idea Completion: The end of an era.

I wake up slowly, stretching my arms and legs beneath the covers. The air conditioning must be turned way up; it's freezing. I haven't lived in a place that necessitated a/c since I lived with my mother in Phoenix, and that was so long ago I hardly remember.

Yawning, I roll onto my back and look around. Edward's nowhere to be seen, and after squinting at the clock beside the bed I see why; it's nearly eleven. The vertical blinds in front of the sliding glass windows are closed tight, but I can sense the how intensely bright the light is on the other side. The blinds sway minutely, from the a/c I guess, allowing in tiny seams of blazing sun.

I can't wait to be out there in it, soaking it up.

Running my hands over my hair, I kick the covers off and slide out of bed. We have an attached bathroom, like the last place, and I check it out as I pee. Nice and spacious, with frosted windows and ample sunlight. I hate dark bathrooms. I can already envision it with my personal effects, and maybe some plants. I wash my hands, noting my sleep-puffy skin. Nothing a little rest...and maybe sea water...can't handle.

Edward's in bed when I come out when I come out, shirtless and grinning.

"Morning," he says, patting the spot beside him.

"Morning." I smile back, biting my lip as I join him, my skin humming with the urge to be as close as possible. Hmm, I probably should have brushed my teeth while I was poking around the bathroom.

Before I can go too far down that road, though, he's rolled me on to my back, his naked skin warm against mine.

"I've been waiting for you to wake up," he murmurs, kissing all along my neck and ears, his hands up under my t-shirt.

"Sorry," I say, cringing with ticklishness and lust. I run my hands over his back and down, realizing just how naked he really is. "Jet lag, I guess."

"Mmm." I know that voice... at this point I could be singing show tunes...just as long as he can get me naked and wrapped around him, he doesn't really care. I lift my arms up, allowing him to strip me of my shirt and then we take my underwear off, kissing and touching.

He spreads my legs and goes down without warning or pretext. This is something he does well...he says he likes it, likes the way I feel against his fingers and tongue. It's been long enough that I'm cresting pretty quickly, my fingers snagged in his silly blond hair. I giggle, partly from the euphoria of coming, but partly because his hair makes him look like such a beach bum surfer type. Which is just so not Edward.

That's the point I guess. Maybe it's so Peter.

He pops up, grinning. "I love how that sounds."


"You, laughing." He kisses me. "You, coming." He kisses me again, sliding against me. "You still on the pill?"

"Yeah...but I need to find a doctor soon. My prescription's about to run out."

"Okay..." Nodding, he pushes inside. I'm complete. How does it feel this good every time?

Sometimes we have chatty sex, where we whisper things and laugh and smile, and other times it's serious, hard core and rough. This time it's neither. It's coming back together, relief, stopping so he doesn't finish too fast and starting up in new positions; rolling me on to my stomach, bending me over the side of the bed, pulling me to sit on top. It's not often I come more than once but today, I do.

Afterward, we take a long shower together. Now we talk, smiling at each other, remembering, loving. We share the soap, a couple of kisses.

"So I'm glad you're finally here," he says as we dry off. "You can help me decorate this place. Actually, you can decorate it however you want."

Smirking, I hang my towel up. "Yeah, I noticed last night things were looking a little barren."

"It's better than it was," he says. "When I first moved in there were all these shitty paintings everywhere. Alice said it was abstract art, but I think that's bull."

I laugh, shaking my head. "Is she an artist, then?"

"Nah, I think she was just trying to be nice. She's really...perky. Positive."

"That's cool." I could use some people like that in my life.

"Yeah, it is. Her husband's a lot quieter, but he's a good guy. We'll see them today, I'm sure."

"You said she teaches kids how to snorkel or something?"

"Yeah, kind of a...I don't know. Free lance teacher or something. She loves kids. She said she might help run a camp or something this summer."

"Sounds nice." We move back to the bedroom, and Edward takes a moment to open the blinds. Just as I'd suspected, the light is stunning, shining directly overhead. Just beyond a pale strip of sand, the sea shimmers like a jewel. "Wow," I breathe, unable to look away.

"I know. I usually keep these open during the day, but I didn't want it to wake you up."

I nod, hypnotized by the brilliant panorama in front of me. The color scheme in the Bay is way different - cooler blue skies, hills that glow a rusty red in the afternoon; I couldn't have ended up in a more different place of I tried. This really is like Mexico, or the various Caribbean islands we vacationed in over the years. This is way better though, because not only is this not a vacation, but I'm with Edward now.

Eventually, I manage to peel myself away from the window to get dressed.

"So, what does Jasper do again?"

"Restores and repairs boats. Sailboats, mostly. He knows a lot of people, actually. We can probably so some sailing if you're interested."

"Oh, I am." I rummage through my bag, looking for the cotton sundress I know is buried in there.

Edward pulls on a pair of board shorts and a t-shirt. I'm used to his button downs and slacks, sweaters and hoodies and jeans. Again, I'm floored by how different he looks. "I'm thinking of buzzing it again," he says, running his fingers through his hair.

"It's weird, but you actually manage to rock it," I say, shrugging. "I don't know if I'm keeping this look yet or not. I really only did it to get out of the Bay."

He nods, coming closer. He smooths my side bangs from my face and kisses my nose. "It's really cute on you, though."

"Do you prefer it?" I ask, surprised.

"Do you?"

"I – I don't know. I'm still getting used to it. I kind of miss my long hair, but, this is so easy."

"You certainly look like a different person," he says. "You kind of remind me of Alice."

"It's apparent I need to meet this girl."

"Come on." He nods toward the door. "There's this place I like to go for breakfast."

We spend the day checking out the places Edward's come to know. Everything seems so rustic and laid back in the Keys. I know that, in time, the slow-paced lifestyle might become a little too quiet, at which point I'll beg to go to the mainland for a concert or something, but for now, it's perfect. After breakfast, we stop at the supermarket to pick up a few things, and then we head back home so that I can unpack the few belongings I have.

Our new home isn't huge, but the open floor plan and generous windows make it seem big. The sliding doors in the living room match the ones in our bedroom; both lead to balconied patios.

And when we get tired of shuffling around the house, we change into our swimsuits, grab a couple of beers, and go outside. The sand is soft and fine between my toes, the clear water heavenly and warm. We stay in until our beer is gone and our fingers are wrinkled, and even then we stay on the sand, watching the sun sink in the sky.

"So what do you think?" Edward asks, trailing a sandy finger along my thigh.

"I think I love it," I say. "I think we're really lucky."

He nods, squinting out toward the horizon. If I thought this was pretty earlier, it's magical now, the water prismatic beneath a setting sun.

"What do you want to do tomorrow?"

I draw my knees up. "I should probably find a doctor, I guess. And..."

It takes a minute, but he comes closer, kissing me. "And what?"

"Are we going to get married? Or..."

"So you want to do that tomorrow?" he chuckles, dropping tipsy kisses down my neck, veering toward my cleavage.

"Stop teasing me."

His smile fades, and he backs up a little. "I don't mean to tease you. We'll go to the courthouse tomorrow if you want."

"I do want. Do you?" I know he loves me, but some men can be funny about such binding commitment.

"Yeah, I really do." In this light, his eyes glow, and my heart skips that out of everyone in the world, I get to be with him. He's proven himself to me over and over again, and I love him like crazy. "I just want it to be special for you."

I tilt my face closer, and we kiss slowly.

Suddenly there's a frisky little bark, and a spray of sand as a tiny puppy, a Lab by the looks of it, bounds up. Laughing, I reach out to pet it, amused by his hyperactive panting, and the way he nips at Edward's fingers.

"Hi, Murphy," he laughs, petting him. "He's Alice's."

"Hey, Peter," someone calls, and I look over to see a petite brunette jogging over. "Sorry! He got away from me again..." Her hair really is like mine.

"'Cause you never use his leash," says the guy behind her, the lanky blond I assume is Jasper.

My heart clenches nervously, but I'm ready for this. Excited. We stand up, brushing sand from our butts.

"Hey, guys," Peter says. "I was wondering where you were."

"Key West, mostly. I've been working on a boat..." Jasper says, his eyes flickering to me.

"Cool. Well, this is Charlotte..."

"Hi!" Alice says, coming right over. She gives me a tentative hug. "I am so so glad you're here. This guy's been missing you, let me tell you."

I smile at Peter, whose cheeks are flushed. It's adorable. "I've missed him too. And it's good to meet you...he talks about you all the time."

I shake Jasper's hand, and he grins, nodding back toward the houses. "Y'all are coming over for dinner, right?"

Peter nods. "For sure. Just gonna wash this sand off..."

"No problem, just come in when you're ready." Alice gives my hand a squeeze. "I have a feeling you and I are going to be great friends, Charlotte." She winks, and then she and Jasper wander off, Murphy running circles around their feet.

And just like that, I'm someone new. It's the end of an era, but the beginning of a new one, and it's not as difficult as I'd expected. I can do this. I want to. Like Peter once said, the essence of who I am remains. The important stuff. He'll always be my Edward and I'll always be his Bella.

He slips his arm around me and we go home.

and that's it.

thank you so much for the love and kindness you all show me on a regular basis. thank you for reading my stuff, and for engaging with me. i hope you enjoyed reading this as much as i liked writing it. much love.


p.s taking a little break so i can catch up on some of your stories, as well as some books. but i'll be back.